Guest Column: Expanding Emergency Access To Epinephrine
State Representative John Becker
December 17, 2015
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For those with a food allergy, or other allergy treated by epinephrine, quick access to the drug can often mean the difference between life and death. Although many who rely on an epi-pen often carry the medication with them regularly, unforeseen circumstances can arise where an individual is without their epi-pen, or the expiration date for the epinephrine has passed. It is in these situations that there must be a back-up plan for saving the individual’s life.

Recently, the Ohio House passed House Bill 200, legislation that allows various facilities to keep non-patient specific epi-pens on hand to treat anaphylactic shock. Under this legislation, the facilities that would be allowed to obtain epi-pens include child day-care centers, colleges and universities, places of employment, restaurants, amusement parks, recreation camps, sports fields, and other similar locations. Many of the facilities listed in the legislation are seen as common places for individuals to come into contact with allergens, such as bees or peanuts, initiating anaphylactic shock.

Last General Assembly, the Ohio House passed similar legislation allowing school districts to keep epi-pens in stock should they choose to do so. For one Akron school district, this has already proven to save two students’ lives. One of the students went into anaphylactic shock after being exposed to peanuts in the school cafeteria, and her epi-pen recently expired and had yet to be replaced. The generic epi-pen that the school nurse had recently acquired was administered, saving the student’s life.

After seeing such immediate impact from the school epi-pen legislation, it became clear that expanding access to epinephrine at various other facilities throughout Ohio can help save even more lives. Although the facilities listed in HB 200 are not required to obtain epi-pens, should they do so, they must follow guidelines provided by a physician. Additionally, the person administering the epinephrine must have participated in training to reduce the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances occurring. By including these two provisions in the bill, we are certifying that the epi-pens are used properly and according to protocol to ensure safety for everyone involved.

As a state legislator, I was proud to vote in favor of this common sense legislation. Similar legislation has already been proven to save lives, and I believe that HB 200 can have the same positive impact on Ohioans. Should you have any feedback on this issue, or any others facing our community, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (614)466-8134 or

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